Robin Hewings, Diabetes UK Head of Policy, looks into the delivery of adult diabetes healthcare in the past three years:
The National Audit Office (NAO) has done a report on the care given to adult diabetes patients on the NHS. The report highlights the fact the NHS is failing to provide the basic recommended care to millions with the condition in England.
It follows on from their investigation into poor diabetes care in 2012, led by Margaret Hodge MP. She was scathing of the way the NHS spend billions on treating diabetes, that could be spent on preventing diabetes with good healthcare in the first place.
Diabetes UK contributed data and analysis to the latest NAO report – though all conclusions are their own. They discovered that there have been slight improvements but overall there has been little improvement in the last three years.
Specifically, the number of people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes getting the eight NICE recommended checks has stayed at around 60%, even though these checks can identify problems early enough to do something about them. Only a third of people with diabetes are meeting the recommended targets for blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol. This is putting people at higher risk of diabetes complications.
Diabetes care is still a postcode lottery. The percentage of people getting the recommended checks across geographical areas, ranged from 30% to 76% in 2012-13.
Another scary example of poor care highlighted in the report, is that younger people or working age, living with diabetes are receiving a worse routine care than other people, and are less likely to have their condition under control.
What needs to be done?
The NHS should set out how it intends to hold local health leader to account for poor performance
The NHS needs to get radically better at supporting people to manage their own condition. Few areas have a serious plan to ensure gets taught how to manage their diabetes. At the moment just 16% of people newly diagnosed are offered a course covering how to effectively manage the condition.
The NAO’s report shows the need for standards to rise. We need the leaders of the health system to turn this into reality. Diabetes UK is working closely with the NHS and the government to help them achieve this so that everyone with diabetes has the best chance of living a long and healthy life.